about the artist
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Susan Silas is a dual American and Hungarian national, born in New York City. She completed her graduate studies at Cal Arts in 1983 and moved back to New York. In 1990, she had her first solo exhibition at fiction/nonfiction in New York. This exhibition was followed in 1991 by a solo exhibition at Galerie Antoine Candau in Paris. In 1992, she was invited to teach at New York University.
Silas has produced and exhibited several major photographic and video works, including one sound piece exploring issues related to the reception of the Shoah by the second generation. In 1998, Silas retraced the steps of a 1945 death march, walking 225 miles in Germany and what is now the Czech Republic. This work, Helmbrechts walk, 1998-2003 was shown at the Staller Center at Stony Brook in 2000, The Koffler Gallery in Toronto in 2005, Hebrew Union College Museum in 2009, Kunstverein Grafschaft Bentheim in Neuenhaus, Germany in 2010, Kunsthalle Exnergasse in Vienna, Austria in 2010 and Center for Contemporary Art, Celje, Slovenia in 2011. Her most recent work on this subject matter is the six channel video installation entitled Treblinka Song and The Happy Wanderer, 2012.
Academic interest in Silas' work has increased in recent years. Her work Helmbrechts walk, 1998-2003, is the subject of a chapter in Landscapes of Holocaust Postmemory by Brett Ashley Kaplan, published by Routledge in 2011. A chapter of Dora Apel's, Memory Affects; The Holocaust and the Art of Secondary Witnessing is devoted to Silas' recent work. Her work on the Shoah is cited in Unwanted Beauty; Aesthetic Pleasure in Holocaust Representation, also by Brett Ashley Kaplan. Helmbrechts walk, 1998-2003 has been the subject of a number of dissertations both in the United States and in Europe.
From the non-monumental memorializing of female victims of the Shoah in the work Helmbrechts walk, 1998-2003, realized through her physical presence in the landscape, she began a series of images and video works entitled found birds; 2000 - the present; works which examine dead and decaying birds. Transformation is investigated in another ongoing series through the middle-aged female face and body in the self-portrait sessions, and in the ongoing plaster casting of the artist's face since the mid-'90's. Her work love in the ruins; sex over 50, is an ongoing diary of sex and seuality.
Her occasional essays have been published in The New York Times, Exquisite Corpse, thirteen.org REEL 13, Frog, and Podium (the online literary magazine of the 92nd Street Y). She has been interviewed by the BBC and by ArtonAir.org. In 2012, she launched MOMMY with artist Chrysanne Stathacos. The art blog is an interview format appreciation of mid-career women artists. Silas is a regular contributor to the online art magazine Hyperallergic. She has been awarded residential fellowships from The MacDowell Colony, The Corporation of Yaddo, VCCA, Ucross Foundation and the National Parks Service at Everglades National Park.
Silas received her BA in History at Reed College in Portland, Oregon and her MFA in Fine Art at California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, California. She currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.
the self-portrait sessions,